The campaign was also announced at JMU's homecoming football game vs. Stony Brook on Saturday. The campaign aims to raise $200 million by 2022.

JMU alumni gathered at the Hall of Presidents to hear a special announcement of the university’s new comprehensive fundraising campaign, Unleashed. The campaign includes five distinct goals, with the ultimate goal of raising $200 million by 2022.

Unleashed is the first effort of its kind since the Madison Century campaign in 2008, which raised $69 million, $19 million above its goal. The purpose of these efforts is to raise money for scholarships, facilities and programs with the help of over 65,000 donors.

The campaign is a part of the Madison Plan, which is JMU’s strategic plan implemented in 2014 to last until 2020. The five goals of Unleashed encompass the vision of this strategy: to be the national model for the engaged university. The goals include renewing our civil society, opening our doors, advancing our understanding, building our success and realizing our vision.

“When we achieve these five goals, James Madison University will reach the heights that our alumni have inspired for us to attain,” JMU President Jonathan Alger said. “Let’s unleash the dreams of our alumni. Let’s unleash the excellence and dedication of our faculty. Let’s unleash the promise and ambition of our students. And let’s unleash the power of our donors’ philanthropy.”

Though the announcement can seem underwhelming to current JMU students amidst the various activities of Homecoming weekend, the campaign is directly impacted by students, and in turn, impacts them in the long run. According to alumna and member of the Unleashed Steering Committee Vanessa Evans-Grevious, the perspectives of students are what show the excellence of JMU, which encourages donors to contribute. The money raised is dispersed through the actions of the university that provide students with opportunities to thrive.

“The campaign matters for students because they’re going to reap the rewards of it,” Evans-Grevious said. “Students play a critical role because you guys are our voices, to say, ‘This is what we need’ … Every one of us, whether it’s a student, faculty member, an employee, a staff member, a board member, a committee member, we all have a role in place to make sure the campaign can work.”

The campaign is also in reaction to JMU’s rising national presence as a university. JMU is competing with the biggest schools in the country, and Unleashed aims to use this growth as a catalyst for donors to contribute.

“People have recognized in the last couple years that our national presence has grown tremendously,” alumni, former president of JMU’s alumni association and member of the Unleashed Steering Committee Larry Caudle said. “We’re right on the edge of doing great things from a national perspective. We’re building the foundation to take what we have today and grow to tremendous heights.”

The campaign is already on a steady path to achieve its goal, with over $120 million raised. Now that it’s entered the public stage, Unleashed is open to a wider audience of potential donors. The campaign will host several kickoff events along the East Coast that will further spread the word of its launch and mission to more alumni to encourage more participation.

Contact Kamryn Koch at kochkr@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.